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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Sep. 12, 2012

ELL and special education advisors named for Common Core assessment group
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One of the groups designing assessments for the Common Core Standards has formed two panels of experts to provide advice on how to ensure that the new tests will validly, reliably, and fairly measure how English-learners and students with disabilities are achieving. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium of states announced its two groups of advisers recently and includes heavy hitters from both the English language learner and special education worlds. On the ELL side, the 11-expert panel includes five members of the Understanding Language team, including its co-chairs, Kenji Hakuta, a Stanford University professor, and María Santos, the deputy superintendent of instruction in Oakland. Jamal Abedi, an expert on assessing English language learners at the University of California, Davis, is also in the group. More

Obama's English
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two aspects of President Barack Obama's acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention were of linguistic interest. The first was "signifying" — the use of indirect humor as critique, and a much discussed feature of black speech. "My opponent and his running mate are ... new ... to foreign policy," he said, adding the two pauses for great comedic effect. The second, and more familiar, was the soaring crescendo, beginning with "in the words of Scripture, ours is a future filled with hope," in which Obama demonstrated his strongest mode of linguistic performance — the black preacher style — to end his remarks ("knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed"). More
Related story: For both parties, Spanglish is the unofficial convention language (NPR)

Teachers' strike in Chicago tests mayor and union
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Chicago found itself engulfed by a sudden public school strike that left 350,000 children without classes, turned a spotlight on rising tensions nationally over teachers' circumstances, and placed both the powerful teachers' union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a risky, politically fraught standoff with no clear end in sight. More
Related story: 7 Issues at Stake in the Chicago Teachers' Strike (Reuters via Fox News)

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TOEFL offers grants for doctoral research in assessment
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This is a reminder that the deadline for applications for the TOEFL Small Grants for Doctoral Research in Second or Foreign Language Assessment is 15 October. The award makes available cash awards up to $2000 to promising students working in the field of foreign or second language assessment that will help them finish their dissertations in a timely manner. Applications received after 15 October will be considered for the next application deadline of 15 February. For more information about the award, please visit the ETS website.

Reminder: Registration now open for the TESOL Convention
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You can now register for TESOL 2013, 20-23 March, in Dallas, Texas. For information on plenary and keynote speakers, what do to in Dallas, convention hotels, and much more, please visit the TESOL 2013 convention page. Register before 1 February and save more than $100 off the on-site rates.

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DREAM Educational Empowerment Program offers webinar
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Do you have undocumented students? United We Dream's DREAM Educational Empowerment Program invites you to a webinar to give you the tools you need to support your DREAMer students. The DEEP Teachers & Allies Webinar will be held at 7 p.m. EST, Tuesday, 18 September. To register, please visit the webinar registration page.

Electronic Village Online seeks proposals for 2013
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
TESOL's Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section offers language teachers worldwide the opportunity to participate in the Electronic Village Online, a professional development project and virtual extension of the TESOL 2013 Convention in Dallas. The free 5-week sessions allow participants to engage in online discussion and/or short hands-on workshops on topics of professional interest in the field of ESL/EFL. For more information, please visit the call for proposals Web page. The deadline for proposals is 23 September.

Presidential nominees serve up sharp differences on education
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During the recently concluded presidential nominating conventions, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney offered stark choices on K-12 policy while downplaying areas of agreement between their two parties — and the tensions within each party on education issues. In Charlotte, N.C., the Democrats put a relentless focus on Obama's record of making education a federal funding priority. They cited the billions of dollars his administration steered into saving teachers' jobs and broadening college access. More
Related story: Education policies, funding at stake in 2012 election (eSchool News)

7 more states, Puerto Rico and Bureau of Indian Education request NCLB flexibility
U.S. Department of Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama Administration has received requests from seven new states, Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education for flexibility from No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. The latest requests, filed by Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and the Bureau of Indian Education, bring to 44 the number of states that have either requested waivers or already been approved to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond No Child Left Behind's rigid, top-down prescriptions. More
Related story: Texas to seek relief from No Child provisions (San Antonio Express-News)

Margo Gottlieb offers tips on integrating Common Core and ELLs
Language Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Minority babies are now majority in United States" proclaims the headline of the Washington Post, May 16, 2012. Just think, in five years, this transformative group of Hispanic, Asian and African-American children will be entering Kindergarten. If all goes according to plan, the Common Core State Standards will be fully operational and the derivative curriculum will be firmly enacted. The next generation of assessments will be underway. The question that looms before our nation is whether schools will be equipped to educate this multicultural onslaught of students in preparation for postsecondary education and careers. The demographic shift in the school-age population of the U.S. is most noticeable in the unprecedented increase of English language learners. The growing numbers of students for whom English is an additional language have touched almost every state. More

Education funding drops in more than half of states
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The recession's impact on American education has not yet dissipated, as more than half of states are slashing their education budgets this year. According to a new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 26 states will spend less per pupil in fiscal year 2013 than the year before, and 35 are still spending at levels lower than before the recession, after adjusting for inflation. The cuts, stemming from the recession in 2007, were relied on heavily rather than a combination of cuts and revenue increases. While states balanced their budgets and saw lessened impact through $100 billion in federal stimulus money for education, the funding dried up at the end of the 2011 fiscal year. More

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More teachers green in the classroom
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With three years of teaching under her belt, Allison Frieze nearly qualifies as a grizzled veteran. The 28-year-old special education teacher at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., already has more experience than the typical U.S. teacher. She remembers her first year and says no new teacher really wants to relive that. "You have so many pressures on you and you're kind of swimming, trying to keep your head above water with all of the things you have to do," Frieze says. Research suggests that parents this fall are more likely than ever to find that their child's teachers are relatively new to the profession, and possibly very young. More

Make professional learning a legislative priority
Educaiton Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
I recently had the opportunity to speak to over 100 legislators at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators. My goal was to move education, and in particular professional learning, to the top of attendees' legislative goals. I began by asking who in the audience had children or grandchildren in public schools. More than 75 percent of the attendees raised their hands. I then asked how many were concerned about who their teachers would be for the upcoming year, and of course the same hands were raised. More

Literacy is the keystone in the arch of an education
The Hill (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For those that cannot read or write, a local newspaper, medicine bottles, street signs and food packaging all present a struggle that inspires fear, frustration and social immobility, according to Cory Heyman, chief program officer of Room to Read. Illiteracy is not just a problem of the developing world; it is prevalent across the United States. In the District of Columbia, where students recently began the new school year, reading levels for elementary students remain well below average — with 56 percent of the District's fourth graders failing to achieve basic reading levels, according to the 2011 nation's report card. More

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Hong Kong backs down over Chinese patriotism classes
BBC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Hong Kong: The Hong Kong government has backed down over plans to make schoolchildren take Chinese patriotism classes, after weeks of protests. City leader Leung Chun-ying said the classes would be optional for schools. "The schools are given the authority to decide when and how they would like to introduce the moral and national education," he said. More

Draft English Language teaching policy under review in Jamaica
Jamaica Observer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jamaica: The Ministry of Education is currently reviewing the draft language education policy as a way of addressing issues with the teaching of English at the primary and secondary level, according to National Literacy Co-ordinator Dr. Andre Hill. His assurance about the review comes as the country grapples with poor performances in English Language in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations. Hill said the draft policy will stipulate a system-wide approach to the teaching of English Language. "This certainly would have implications for how student teachers are trained in the teachers colleges and universities," he said. More

Virtual foreign exchange program fosters global skills
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Today's students need to prepare for a globalized world, business leaders often say — but sending students abroad is usually too expensive for cash-strapped schools or parents. One Michigan school district is taking a unique approach to this challenge by establishing a virtual foreign exchange program so that students can take classes from teachers in other countries. More

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Fairfax, Va., schools system faces growing budget challenge as more students need ESOL classes
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The number of Fairfax County, Va., students who speak a foreign language at home is likely to surpass 50 percent of the school population for the first time this month, reflecting a surge of immigrant families in Northern Virginia, school officials said. As total enrollment reached an all-time high of 181,500 students when school began, Fairfax also saw a major increase in those who will need English language lessons. This year, about 31,500 students are projected to enroll in English for speakers of other languages, representing 17 percent of the total county student population and an increase of nearly one-third from last year. More

Early learning practices in immigrant families
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to a new study, immigrant Mexican mothers report stable home environments but are less likely to read to their young children than American-born white mothers; however, immigrant Chinese mothers are opposite. These insights into how families function in immigrant households in the United States come from a new study that examines how migration history, cultural practices and social class impact social-emotional development and early learning practices in homes with young children. The findings challenge some of the conventional thinking on the disadvantages for children born into immigrant families. More
Related article: Study finds US trailing in preschool enrollment (Education Week)

Schools fail students still learning English
South Coast Today (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
No matter what one's political leaning is, I think we can all agree that when it comes to our public schools, all children deserve a chance at an equal educational opportunity. The law is very clear on this, which was based on provisions of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, Section 601. With this law, the remedies for providing special programs to students such as ELL's are left open to the state. Dawn Blake Souza, an educator for ELL's, has experienced many different types of programs that vary from state to state, and in this article, Souza discusses the goals of an ELL program and her opinions on the ELL programs. More

Freedom University creates educational space for undocumented students
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As Labor Day approaches, students across the nation prepare to head back to campus. For many undocumented students, the dream of accessing an education remains out of reach even with President Barack Obama's Deferred Action Policy in place. Most DREAM Act activists don't expect this piece of legislature to pass during an election, so Deferred Action is an important policy that temporarily allows undocumented youth to work in this country. Yet, Deferred Action doesn't help undocumented students' access education. More

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Public universities increase out-of-state student enrollments to fill budget gaps
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When states cut funding to public higher education, universities usually raise tuition. That's nothing new. What is new is the trend of administrators deciding to seek more out-of-state students to shore up their revenue. States have long been slicing away higher education appropriations, which has declined nationwide since 1985 and has led to a 559 percent increase in the cost to attend college. However, there's only so much they can raise tuition. Now state colleges are increasingly looking for nonresidents, who pay a tuition bill sometimes as much as three times higher than in-state residents who are subsidized by state dollars. More

Pushouts, shutouts and holdouts: Adult education pathways of Latino young adults
Migration Information Source    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Research on the graduation rates of Hispanic immigrants in the United States has focused primarily on the traditional high school to college pathway, overlooking a significant and growing sector of the Hispanic population: youth and young adults over age 15 who migrate with incomplete secondary education, due in large part to poverty and lack of access. This population with incomplete formal schooling has often — and erroneously — been labeled dropouts. In reality, many are pushouts, shutouts or holdouts. More

College offers free advanced English classes for non-native speakers
Arizona Range News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Cochise College Adult Education in Willcox, Ariz., offers a free program designed for non-native English speakers who need a little confidence boost in handling everyday situations with native English speakers. TREAT — Technology Rich English for Adult Transitions — is a grant-funded English Language Acquisition class available at the Arizona college's campuses in Douglas, Sierra Vista and Willcox. The program aims to help students increase their ability of read, write, speak and listen in English, as well as use computers and other pieces of technology to reach goals. More

Raising Latino achievement seen as 'demographic imperative'
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By 2020, 1 in 4 children enrolled in America's K-12 public schools will be Latino. With such strong and growing numbers, the educational achievement of this diverse community of students — who increasingly live in states and communities where Latinos were virtually nonexistent even a decade ago — has implications for the national economy, local labor markets and prospects for upward social mobility for millions of Hispanic Americans. More

Study: Children 'too embarrassed' to pick up books
The Telegraph    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Great Britain: Figures show a gradual year-on-year drop in the number of 8- to 16-year-olds choosing to pick up novels outside school. Data published by the National Literacy Trust shows that just 3 in 10 now read every day in their own time compared with 4 in 10 seven years ago. Many children are also turning their backs on other forms of reading, including magazines and websites, it was revealed. The popularity of comics has almost halved since 2005, figures show. Researchers warned that young people were increasingly shunning texts in favor of other activities such as television and games consoles. More

Advice to a new teacher
CNN (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Are you ready to be sneezed on? Cried on? Laughed at? Hugged to death? I sure hope so, dear newbie. Because what no one will tell you, besides me, is it's about to get very, very real all up in this place called the classroom. You're going to do phenomenally, but it's going to be challenging, frustrating and thrilling, often all three at once. I am so excited you've chosen to make teaching your life's work. My heart is literally racing with excitement and hope for you. It's going to change your life and you'll never be the same after day one. More

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What teachers need to know about action research
Education Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As a veteran teacher, I have plenty of instructional strategies under my belt, but this past year I needed new tools. A group of students (mostly English language learners) were struggling to achieve even minimal growth in reading. As third-graders, they were entering the testing phase of schooling — but were two or more grade levels behind. My colleagues and I knew we had to boost these students academically in order not to lose them socially. Multiple teachers were collaborating to serve the students, yet it seemed as if everyone was trying their own variations on the same approach. I wanted to sift through the redundancies and streamline my end of their instruction. More

Guide aims to help teachers navigate copyright law
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Staying on the right side of copyright laws is one of the many challenges to finding good instructional materials. A new guide aims to help teachers and school librarians navigate those ropes. The American Library Association just released the Complete Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators, sparked by a survey that found a dearth of guidance on the topic. With perky cartoon illustrations and a sense of humor, it tries to give teachers the basics about copyright law so they can find and use good online and print resources without drawing the disapproving attention of lawyers. More

Top 5 technology tools for ELL teachers
Learning is Growing (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
I recently introduced teachers of English language learners to a variety of technology tools that can be integrated into the classroom. These tools are actually beneficial for all classrooms. It has been said many times that as teachers we are preparing students for thier futures, not our past. We need to take a hard look at our classrooms and instruction. Have our practices moved into the 21st century or are they still locked in the past? Does school look and feel like it did when we went to school? More

Helping teachers manage bad behaviors in the classroom
Savanna Morning News (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Since school is back in session, some parents may find relief now that their child is not home all day. However, teachers are now faced with the issue of managing their student's behavior. Establishing discipline and order in a classroom is a very important skill in teaching. A teacher must be able to create and manage the conditions in which students can and want to learn. More

Back-to-school gadgets: The evolution of classroom tech
Fox News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students aren't the only ones maturing through the years: Classroom technologies and devices have continued to evolve into some pretty cool and beneficial learning tools. So don't be left with last year's it item — take a look at these new and transformed school gadgets and devices and keep up with the classroom instead. More

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